Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anna Tomaskiewicz, Black Widow Serial Killer - 1920



Note: Two different spellings are found in news reports:  “Tomaskiewicz” and “Tomaskiewiez.”

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): Northampton, Mass., May 17. – Four times a widow and charged directly with the murder of her last husband. Mrs. Anna Tomaskiewicz of South Hadley was placed on trial here today. The state openly alleges that the woman caused the death of two husbands, one in Connecticut and one in New York, and that suspicious circumstances attended the deaths of the other two.

The state claims that Mrs. Tomaskiewicz gave her husbands arsenic in order to collect life insurance.

Before the court session today the defendant stated that she would take the stand in her own defense, deny the charge that she poisoned her husband and tell her own version of how the four men died.

A state detective's record covering the woman's life will be introduced, it is said this record takes in her marital career from her girlhood in Galicia, when she married Ignace Malchek. He died in Chicago of tuberculosis, she claims. Theodore Dalmako, to whom she was married in Albany, N. Y., also died. She afterwards married Peter Belos and later Andrew Tomaskiewicz.

[“Woman Four Times Widow Faces Jury On Poisoning Charge,” syndicated (INS), The Pittsburgh Press (Pa.), May 17, 1920, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): Northampton, Mass May 21 – Evidence concerning the deaths of the second and third husbands of Mrs. Anna Tomaskiewicz of South Hadley on trial here charged with the murder of her fourth husband Andrew was introduced today by District Attorney Thomas G. Hammond for the prosecution. Testimony showed that the former husbands Theodore Darmetko and Peter Vilos each died after short illnesses and that on each there were several insurance policies.

It was brought out that Anna Malcyzk (Mrs. Tomaskiewicz) and Mr. Darmetko were married in June 1915, and that Mr. Darmetko died in July 1916, following one week’s illness. Three insurance policies aggregating about $300 on which partial payments after the death of the husband should [have] been made, were presented as evidence.

Michael Hurley of Pittsfield said that a week before his death Mr. Darmetko had complained to him of pains in his stomach. Medical Examiner Henry Colt of Pittsfield testified to being present when the body of Mr. Darmetko was exhumed recently and of the autopsy performed by Dr. James B Magrath of Boston. Adam Ostrowski of Holyhoke, undertaker, said he had prepared the bodies of the third and fourth husbands of the defendant for burial.

At the request of the jury an all-day session will take place tomorrow when adjournment will be taken, to Monday.

[“Other Husbands of Mrs. Tomaskiewicz Met Untimely Ends,” Daily Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Me.), May 22, 1920, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): Northampton, May 27—A verdict of not guilty by reason o£ insanity was returned tonight by a Superior Court jury in the case of Mrs. Anna Tomasktewiez of South Hadley, charged with the murder of her husband, Andrew Tomaskiewicz, who, the State alleged, died of arsenical poisoning at the Holyoke Hospital. Aug 11, 1919. Mrs. Tomaskiewicz, was seen to smile when the verdict was given by the jury foreman. Mrs. Tomaskiewicz was committed to the Northampton State Hospital for the Insane for life.

The jury was given the case at 4:20 o'clock this afternoon, and after 1 ¼  hours for lunch began its deliberations, which ended at 7 o'clock tonight. Final arguments were made this morning by attorney R. J. Stapleton for the defense and Dist. Atty. Hammond for the Commonwealth. The defense claimed that the defendant was of low mentality and that all the evidence of her guilt was circumstantial. Mrs. Tomaskiewicz had waived her right to address the jury.

The prosecution argued that Anna knew what she was doing and was merely trying to evade the penalty of premeditated murder. Following the arguments, Judge Webster Thayer gave the charge to the jury and it retired.

[“Finds Alleged Killer Insane - Mrs. Anna Tomaskiewicz Is Not Guilty, Says Jury - South Hartley Woman Tried on Charge of Poisoning Husband,” The Boston Daily Globe (Ma.), May 28, 1920, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): Southampton, Mass., July 15. – Mrs. Anna Tomaskiewiez, the strange woman ‘Bluebeard’ of South Hartley, was preparing for her sixth-husband when her fifth spouse died. Mike Djurizzko, a boarder, was to be her next husband, according to testimony in the case.

Mrs. Tomaskiewiez had already tried to obtain insurance made out in her name for Mike. The Polish insurance agent refused to accept the application and it was this fact that led to the unearthing of her tangled career.

~ HAD FIVE HUSBANDS, RECORD’S SHOW ~

Records in the case are almost as strange as those of the California “Bluebeard,” Harvey. She has had five husbands, as follows:

IGNACE MALEZYK – Died of tuberculosis in Chicago. It was this husband, a cobbler who, according to Mrs. Tomaskiewiez. “dried up like a toothpick,” and whose shop she sold for $2,500.

ALEXANDER DOLINSKI – left her after spending thirteen months in a hospital suffering from arsenic poisoning, and from whom the has never obtained a divorce.

THEODORE DARMETKA – Died of arsenic poisoning one year after marrying her. Peter Kilos Also died one year after marrying her.

ANDREW TOMASKIEWIEZ – died eleven months after his marriage.

The woman’s shrewdness and her unbelievable power to attract men of her class in spite of her class in spite of her age and slovenly appearance, were shows time after, time in the trial.

~ TRUCK FARM CALLED “MURDER FACTORY” ~

Almost as soon as she married each of her victims, she secured insurance for him With the proceeds of the insurance of her first and third husbands she bought the truck farm at South Hadley, which, the state charges, became a "murder factory."

The farm was within a stone's throw from the cemetery where two of her husbands now he buried.

By the woman's own testimony, three husbands who died suffered the most terrible agony, begging continually for water to quench the burning thirst, alleged to have been caused by arsenic poisoning. And a fourth the lucky Alexander Dollnski, of Cleveland from whom she failed to get a divorce, testified that physicians gave him no hope for his life when he was suffering from arsenic poisoning.

~ TELLS OF SUFFERERS’ UNQUENCHABLE THIRST. ~

Mrs. Tomaskiewiez. on the witness stand. described without a shudder, the suffering of each husband, emphasizing their unquenchable thirst.

She emphatically denied however, knowing anything about the arsenic and paris green found at the house after the death of her last husband.

The trial is causing no end of excitement in the staid old town in the Berkshires and the court room has been filled ever since it opened.

The trial is the third murder trial in 35 years in the county, both of the former cases having resulted in executions. No woman has ever met death on the chair in Massachusetts.

Major Hammond, district attorney of Southampton, is not at all sure that he has complete record of Mrs. Tomaskiewiez’s marriages She has roved in practically every state in New England and lived with her various husbands in New York, Pittsburg, Chicago, Hartford. New Britain, Chicopee, Boston, Albany and South Hadley.

[Lorry A. Jacobs, “Aged Charmer Tells In Court How They Died -  State Alleges "Murder Factory" Run by Woman Whose Marital Exploits Rival Harvey’s,” The Seattle Star (Wa.), Jun. 2, 1920, p. 1]

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Suspected victims:

Ignace Malchek, husband #1
Theodore Dalmako, husband #2
Peter Belos, husband #3
Andrew Tomaskiewicz, husband #4



 

For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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